Fourth Anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo Massacre


Remembering the Islamist attack on Charlie Hebdo on January 7th 2015 and the evening of solidarity held in Montréal on January 26th at which Zineb El Rhazoui spoke.

Sommaire en français On n’oubliera jamais l’attentat islamiste contre la revue Charlie Hebdo le 7 janvier 2015. Une soirée de solidarité a eu lieu à Montréal, le 26 janvier suivant, avec la participation de Zineb El Rhazoui.

Today, January 7th 2019, is the fourth anniversary of the horrific Islamist terrorist attack against the magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France. About three weeks later, on January 26th, an evening of solidarity with Charlie Hebdo was held at the Lion d’or in Montréal.

Caricature, Soirée solidarité Charlie Hebdo
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Caricature, Solidarity with Charlie Hebdo

Zineb El Rhazoui
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Zineb El Rhazoui (Photo: Le Figaro)

The most highly anticipated of the various speakers at the event was Zineb El Rhazoui, a French journalist working with Charlie Hebdo who survived the massacre as she was visiting her native Casablanca, Morocco at the time of the attack.

Zineb El Rhazoui is a courageous critic of Islamism and the target of death threats. Her most recent book is Détruire le fascisme islamique (Destroying Islamic Fascism). Here is a sampling of her views taken from an interview in Le Figaro (my translation):

“The concept of Islamophobia is an intellectual imposture based on a deliberate confusion between Islam as a dogma, Islam as a civilization, and Muslims considered ipso facto as a monolithic community and not as individuals. […] In Western democracies, Islamists, desperate to impose the idea that blasphemy is criminal, can only fall back upon the accusation of Islamophobia which they want to turn into a new type of racism. But since when is a faith a race?”

“Islamism is an imperialist ideology. It has an intrinsic vocation to spread because proselytism is a duty in Islam, including its most bellicose form: jihad.”

“Above all, we must dare to designate this ideology for what it is: a fascism.”

“It is essential to return to the written sources of religion in order to understand how much they are — like the writings of other monotheistic religions — a compendium of myths and barbarism.”

“Islamism is simply Islam applied literally.”

“If the Muslim race exists, then I belong to it.”

“The cultural differentialism advocated by some anti-racists is the antithesis of anti-racism. To accept a totalitarian ideology that represses women, homosexuals and otherness generally, as the legitimate expression of a cultural difference, is to deny to certain cultures the rights that one accepts for oneself. Human rights are not the prerogative of whites, they are made for everyone. Unfortunately, anti-racist differentialists have left Islamists with the monopoly of defining an entire culture.”

Cartoonist BeauDet
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Cartoonist BeauDet at the Lion d’or

Also participating in the evening of solidarity was the caricaturist Beaudet, who drew the image shown above and to the right, while various speakers took the stage. At the end of the evening, a draw was held and the completed cartoon was awarded to the winner.


Next blog: Sinéad O’Connor: A Metaphor for the Degeneration of the Left

Canada’s Anti-Blasphemy Law Repealed, But M-103 Remains


Canada’s anti-blasphemy law has finally been repealed. Excellent news. However, Motion M-103 which condemns “Islamophobia” remains in force.
Sommaire en français La loi canadienne qui criminalise le blasphème est enfin abrogée. Excellente nouvelle ! Toutfois, la Motion M-103 qui condamne l’« islamophobie » demeure en vigueur.
The Canadian Senate has voted to repeal the country’s “blasphemous libel” law (Section 296 of the Criminal Code), as part of a Bill C-51 which removes outdated legislation. Earlier today (2018-12-13) the senate announced on its twitter feed that the Bill has received Royal Assent and is thus adopted. This has excellent news indeed and has been reported on a number of atheist and humanist web sites such as End Blasphemy Laws and The Friendly Atheist. However, before breaking out the champagne, consider this. The various reports I have seen so far fail to mention an important problem: Motion M-103 remains on the books. That Motion condemns so-called “Islamophobia” and thus sets the stage for a new kind of anti-blasphemy legislation, condemning criticism of one religion, but without explicit use of the word “blasphemy.” Although Motion M-103 does not have force of law, it is dangerous for exactly the same reason as Section 296: its international impact. Both Section 296 and Motion M-103 give countries with similar legislation a convenient excuse to continue violating human rights by pointing to Canada’s bad example. Section 296 did not, of course, have force of law outside Canada either, and even inside Canada it had not been used for decades. Nevertheless, the symbolic effect was negative. Motion M-103 continues to provide that negative example. Furthermore, Motion M-103 is, in one sense, even worse that Section 296 in that it privileges one specific religion, giving it preferential treatment. So in addition to constituting a form of soft censorship of criticism of Islam, it will generate animosity from believers in other religions which are not so privileged. Moreover, there is a legitimate fear that in future M-103 may be followed eventually by a similar proposal, inspired by it, but having force of law.
Such accusations have precisely the same chilling effect as Motion M-103: they are a form of intimidation which stifles criticism of Islam and helps to further the agenda of political Islam.
This problem is complicated by the fact that some of the very people who applaud the repeal of Section 296 and claim to be secularists hypocritically support M-103. Even worse, some even repeat absurd accusations that to oppose M-103 is necessarily a right-wing or far-right position. Such accusations have precisely the same chilling effect as Motion M-103: they are a form of intimidation which stifles criticism of Islam and helps to further the agenda of political Islam. Secularists must now work to repeal Motion M-103 and to prevent the Canadian parliament from adopting in the future any motion or legislation similar or worse.

Next blog: Open Letter to TheConversation: An Organ of Anti-Quebec Propaganda

Les extrêmes se touchent

Twitter censure une caricature de Charb


Une caricature de Charb (Stéphane Charbonnier), tué dans l’attentat islamiste contre la magazine Charlie Hebdo le 7 janvier 2015, a été récemment censurée par Twitter.

Summary in English A cartoon by Charb (Stéphane Charbonnier), killed in the Islamist terrorist attack against the French magazine Charlie Hebdo on January 7th 2015, was recently censored by Twitter. The cartoon’s caption reads, “Extremes Touch Each Other,” a pun associating masturbation with the convergence of two forms of religious extremism.

La revue française Marianne nous informe que Twitter a bloqué le compte d’une figure de “Charlie Hebdo” affichant un dessin de Charb :

Après le blocage de son compte Twitter en raison de la diffusion d’une caricature de Charb, Marika Bret, figure historique de “Charlie Hebdo”, s’insurge ce 18 septembre contre la sanction du réseau social. Elle condamne plus largement la multiplication des censures à l’encontre du dessinateur disparu, qu’elle qualifie de “seconde mort”.

Les extrêmes se touchent, caricature de Charb
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Caricature réalisée par Charb en 2011
Source : Marianne

Next blog: Ensaf Haidar Challenges Canadian Orthodoxy

Islam and Islamism


How are Islam and Islamism related. Here is my take on this very important question.

Sommaire en français Quelle est le rapport entre islam et islamism. Je donne ici mon point de vue sur cette importante question.

Islam, like most religions, comes in many forms, may variants, many sects. There are Sunnis and Shiites; there are Sufis and Ahmadis; there are various denominations and tendencies. There are pious, observant Muslims and non-practising Muslims. There are modern secular Muslims. There are ex-Muslim atheists. There are those from a Muslim background for whom Islam is only a cultural heritage or a childhood memory.

Islamism is a political ideology based on Islam, a program which is often violent and revolutionary, generally promoting full implementation of sharia law. It may also be called political Islam, Islamic extremism, Islamic fundamentalism, Muslim fundamentalism, radical Islam, Islamofascism, Islamist fanaticism, etc. The choice of the best label remains open for discussion. For example, fundamentalism need not be violent. On the other hand, the term Islamofascism may be considered too mild, since fascism, strictly speaking, is a modern XXth-century phenomenon while Islamism is based on early-medieval totalitarian theocracy and is far to the right of even the most extreme right-wing fascism. Regardless of the expression one chooses, this phenomenon is currently on the offensive and its effects are devastating, both materially and ideologically.

Political Islam is neither a distortion of Islam nor an outrageous extrapolation of it. On the contrary, it is simply an eminently plausible interpretation of the Muslim religion.

There are those who say that Islam and Islamism are basically the same thing, that there is no essential difference between them. I respectfully disagree. In my opinion Islamism is a subset of Islam, a variant of it, one of several interpretations of Islam. The radical political ideology of Islamism is not synonymous with Islam, but it is part of it and compatible with it. Political Islam is neither a distortion of Islam nor an outrageous extrapolation of it. On the contrary, it is simply an eminently plausible interpretation of the Muslim religion.

There are those who say that Islam and Islamism are completely distinct. I disagree. But I do not do so respectfully. I have no respect for an opinion which is so obviously false—dangerously false—and has the effect of exonerating Islam from any responsibility for the extremists who base their ideology on the “sacred” writings of that religion. To say that Islamism has nothing to do with Islam is like saying that the Crusades had nothing to do with Christianity, or that Mike Pence’s extreme homophobia has nothing to do with the homophobia of all three Abrahamic religions.

What About the Believers?

Thus Islam contains Islamism. The religion Islam, by way of its various “sacred” writings—the quran, hadiths, etc.—provides the theoretical underpinnings of the extremely virulent, proselytizing and totalitarian ideology of Islamism. But what about the people; what about Muslims? Does the fact that these two systems of ideas are so closely related imply that all Muslims are either Islamists or near-Islamists? The short answer, of course, is no.

I always stress the importance of distinguishing beliefs from believers, ideologies from people. Muslims, like Christians, Jews or other religious believers are all over the map, from fundamentalist to secular. It can be argued that there is no such thing as modern, secular Islam, that that religion is essentially obscurantist and retrograde. Christianity too is essentially obscurantist and retrograde, and yet Islam is arguably even worse, because the virulence of Christianity has at least has been somewhat attenuated after 2000 years of history, while Islam has never gone through a process similar to what the Enlightenment did to tame (partially at least) both Christianity and Judaism. However, the absence of a secularized Islam does not imply that there are no secular Muslims.

Secular Muslims—i.e. those who have moved away from strict observance, who have distanced themselves from the worst aspects of Islam, who may indeed be closet atheists—do indeed exist. And they are in a very difficult situation, a situation which makes them less visible. There are probably far more of them than is apparent.

When Trudeau visits a mosque and communes openly with imams, when non-Muslim women wear hijabs in a ridiculous show of false “solidarity”, when our politicians undermine human rights by allowing face-coverings everywhere, these actions validate and empower more fundamentalist Muslims.

One of the worst aspects of Islam is the taboo against apostasy, i.e. against leaving Islam. In fact, it is more than a taboo: it is the law in many Muslim-majority countries. Apostasy is often a crime with severe penalties, even the death penalty. This is the absolute negation of freedom of conscience. See my previous blog Apostasy is a Human Right. So in addition to all the disapproval and the threat of ostracism from family and community which make life difficult for any Muslim who may be questioning their religion a little, there is, in countries which have such laws, the very real, objective threat of criminal charges and severe punishments.

Even in countries such as Canada where apostasy is not criminalized, where we enjoy some degree of freedom of conscience, family members and the Muslim community may still exert strong pressure on the individual. Islamist individuals in that community may have a great deal of threatening influence even if they may be few in number. A member of the community who may be considering abandoning the faith, or who merely wishes to speak out about problems caused by excessively strict observance of Islamic dogmas, such as dubious treatment of women or of children, may be subject to intimidation.

Well-meaning but foolish proponents of communitarianism (i.e. multiculturalism) make matters worse by treating Muslims like a monolithic community, thus empowering the more fundamentalist and Islamist among them. When Justin Trudeau visits a mosque as prime minister and communes openly with imams, when non-Muslim women wear hijabs in a ridiculous show of false “solidarity” with Muslim women (many of whom do not wear any veil), when our politicians undermine human rights by allowing face-coverings everywhere, these actions validate and empower more fundamentalist Muslims. They make it even more difficult for modern, secular-leaning Muslims to assert their own freedoms in opposition to fundamentalists.

The New Blasphemy

We must stop the recriminalization of blasphemy under its new name “Islamophobia!”

Currently, Islamists are on an aggressive international campaign of promotion of their totalitarian version of Islam. Islamists are very vocal and noisy, making them appear more numerous than they really are. Their goal is to speak for all Muslims, to silence more moderate voices or at least to shout louder than them. Their goal is to become the only voice of Muslims. They are having some success. The proportion of Muslim women wearing some kind of veil is increasing in Canada. Multiculturalists such as Trudeau and his ilk play directly into the hands of proselytizing Islamists.

Islamists have various weapons which they use in their campaign to dominate. Terrorism is only the most extreme weapon. There are also much simpler, non-violent weapons which are very effective, weapons of propaganda, especially useful in countries where Muslims are a small minority. Promotion of the veil is one weapon: imposing it anywhere and everywhere, making its presence appear normal and banal, conquering public space little by little. The case of legal jihadist Zunera Ishaq is a notable example of this strategy. Another weapon of choice for Islamists is promotion of the term “Islamophobia” which stigmatizes criticism of Islam and Islamism. In Canada today, this particular propaganda weapon has a very high profile. Free speech is under attack and the situation is very serious. Islamists and their multiculturalist dupes are exploiting the recent killings at a Quebec City mosque in order to get the federal parliament to pass motion M-103 which would condemn so-called Islamophobia.

Secular Muslims get it from both sides. They deserve all the support we can give them. We must oppose the retrograde measures which Islamists and fundamentalists are pushing, such as promoting the veil and stigmatising criticism of their religion. The current priority is that motion M-103 must be defeated.

We must stop the recriminalization of blasphemy under its new name “Islamophobia!”

Next blog: The Undauntable Fatima!

Of Pigs and Prayer

The Selective Outrage of Islamophiliacs


The seriousness of the recent pig’s head incident in Quebec City has been greatly exaggerated by some. What is just as serious, indeed more so, is the contempt shown by most of our politicians for citizens who are legitimately concerned about radical Islam, thus increasing the likelihood of such mean-spirited, threatening gestures.

Sommaire en français Plusieurs média ont grandement exagéré la gravité d’un événement récent, lorsqu’une tête de porc a été laissée à la porte d’une mosquée de la ville de Québec. Ce qui est aussi grave, encore pire au fait, est l’attitude de mépris affichée par la plupart de nos politiciens à l’égard des citoyens qui se préoccupent raisonnablement de l’Islam radical. Cette attitude augmente la probabilité de tels gestes mesquins et menaçants.

Recently many media have been in a tizzy, doing their best to manufacture excessive outrage over an instance of anti-Muslim mischief. A pig’s head was left on the doorstep of a Quebec City mosque recently. The pig’s head was gift-wrapped and accompanied by a greeting card inscribed with the erroneously spelt (but phonetically correct) words “Bonne appétit.” This was an act of provocation in very poor taste, but no more alarming than a small number of cases of minor vandalism reported over the past few months in various locations across Canada, unacceptable of course, but hardly surprising considering the current political climate.

Indeed this incident was much less serious than other acts of provocation perpetrated by persons who, while claiming to be friends of Muslims in general, are in reality objective allies of extremists (and in fact responsible for the current political climate), acts which were far more “hateful” than the pig’s head incident.

The most disturbing aspect of the severed pig’s head incident is the possibility of violence, unspoken but implied: given such a bloody mess, are other acts of bloody violence thus intended? On the other hand, animal heads are inevitable by-products of food provisionning in our society, so perhaps no violence is implied.

As for the choice of a pig, as opposed to any other animal, this aspect is evidently a dig at Muslim dietary practices which, like most religious practices, are irrational, arbitrary and baseless. So this aspect is hardly disturbing—on the contrary. Furthermore, the fact that this occurred during the “holy” month of Ramadan is also significant, given that the fasting imposed during Ramadan is a major threat to the health and welfare of Muslims and is often used as a way to threaten and intimidate individuals who exercise their freedom by choosing not to fast. Maryam Namazie (see links below) calls it the “heinous, dark month of Ramadan.”

A more subtle aspect of this case is disturbing in a completely different way: I think we can assume that it was an expression of fear—fear of Islam? or fear of Muslims?—and that this fear is partly legitimate. I must stress this point: fear of Islam is not unjustified. That fear has been allowed to fester by the inaction of political leaders, such as Premier Philippe Couillard and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who have taken a complacent approach to radical Islam. Even worse, such leaders have been complicit with fundamentalist Muslims, using the latter as clients to support their political goals, and have unscrupulously accused the fearful of various “sins” such as xenophobia and intolerance.

Finally, this event raises the all-important issue of distingishing radical or extremist Muslims from others. By adopting a very Islamophile attitude, mainstream politicians cultivate a climate of censorship of criticism of any form of Islam, thus stifling necessary debate which would help the public to be better informed and to take a more nuanced attitude. The perpetrator(s) of this incident, for example, were they targeting all Muslims, or only those they perceived as radical? What about the Quebec City mosque where they pig’s head was left: do radical Muslims have significant influence there, or do they not? How can we find out, if politicians tell us that we must simply shut up and say nothing against Islam?

Are you, dear reader, outraged by the pig’s head incident? Perhaps your outrage is rather selective. I have a few questions for you:

Were you outraged when … the Moderator of the United Church of Canada … stupidly accused supporters of a niqab ban of “Islamophobia” … ?

  • Were you outraged when the United Church of Canada recently held a public-prayer event in collaboration with the Muslim Association of Canada? This was an act of provocation more serious than the pig’s head. It involved moderate Christians helping fundamentalist Muslims to invade public space with their religious rituals—rituals which should occur only in places of worship. Worse, the media reported this event in a totally non-critical, indeed approving manner! (You are invited to sign the petition calling on the mayor of Montreal to prevent such events.)
  • Were you outraged when, in December 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a statement defaming the supporters of Quebec’s Charter of Secularism?
  • Were you outraged when, during the federal election campaign of October 2015, Justin Trudeau, Thomas Mulcair and many others slandered all those who supported a ban on the niqab during citizenship ceremonies?
  • Were you outraged when, during that same campaign, the Moderator of the United Church of Canada, Jordan Cantwell, stupidly accused supporters of a niqab ban of “Islamophobia”, thus spreading the idea that opposing fundamentalism is immoral?
  • Were you outraged during the 2013-2014 debate over the Quebec Charter of Secularism when supporters of secularism where denigrated and slandered as “intolerant,” “xenophobic,” “racist,” or worse by opponents of the Charter who included an unholy alliance between the Liberal Party of Quebec and fundamentalist Muslims?

Running through the above examples is a common thread of opposition to secularism, a white-washing of fundamentalist Islam and a failure to distinguish between fundamentalist and secular Muslims. By secular Muslims I mean those who welcome modernity and secularism and accept to practice their religion—if they practice it at all—in private, so as not to impose it on others. (I prefer not to use the term “moderate” because so-called moderate believers, while personally rejecting the most retrograde aspects of their religion, fail to denounce those aspects definitively, this enabling fundamentalists who continue to practice them and demand privileges based on them.)

For example, granting Zunera Ishaq the privilege of wearing the niqab at citizenship ceremonies as if the niqab were representative of Muslim women’s dress serves to assimilate all Muslims to radical, fundamentalist Muslims, because only the latter promote the wearing of such oppressive clothing. Claiming that allowing the niqab is a “victory” for Muslim women grossly misrepresents who Muslim women are, and is an insult to the many women who have courageously resisted the imposition of the veil in Muslim-majority countries, often at great personal risk.

mainstream politicians, by failing to take clear action against Islamist radicalism … and worse, by showing utter contempt for critics of Islam, fail to reassure a concerned public and instead contribute to the climate of fear …

Most important of all, mainstream politicians, by failing to take clear action against Islamist radicalism—for example, by banning the niqab in official ceremonies, by banning foreign financial support to religious institutions in Canada, by investigating more thoroughly what sorts of discourse are commonplace in Canadian mosques—and worse, by showing utter contempt for critics of Islam, fail to reassure a concerned public and instead contribute to the climate of fear, thus increasing the probability of mean-spirited actions such as the pig’s head incident. Ordinary citizens concerned about religious radicalism have not only been abandoned by our country’s leaders, they have been treated with outright disdain, and this is especially true in Quebec where support for secularism is strongest.

Yes, whoever delivered the pig’s head to that mosque in Quebec City acted very stupidly—but no more stupidly than Justin Trudeau, Thomas Mulcair, Jordan Cantwell and many others. If the pig’s head gifters had instead behaved intelligently, they would have sought co-operation with ex-Muslims and secular Muslims who do not practice Ramadan, together they would have organized a public event involving a feast during daytime in Ramadan, and instead of leaving a pig’s head they would have left a kind invitation to all Muslims, and everyone else, to join in the festivities and partake of the feast in defiance of Ramadan. And on the menu, I would suggest a variety of dishes to please a variety of palates, including, among other meats, a few pork dishes and maybe even some head cheese.

Suggested Links

Next blog: Aphorisms about “Islamophobia” and “Racism”